This feature is sponsored, but the opinions expressed are the reviewer’s own.
By Anna Short
I’ve always liked the notion of taking things minimally. As a result, Arnie Witkin’s It’s Not a Big Thing in Life is perfect for me and for all the overthinkers and worriers who head to Google with their questions or to seek positive advice and quotes. If you’re like me and tend to be more dramatic and emotional, this book will encourage you to address issues with a sense of humour.
Subtitled “strategies for coping’” it’s important to remember that It’s Not a Big Thing in Life is a series of strategies rather than imperatives and instructions. Witkin bases these revelations upon life experiences and so they are more personal and heartfelt than a website guide may be. You can carry this around, and with titled sections, it’s easy to seek out guidance as and when you need it.
It is written in a thoughtful, sincere manner, with witty anecdotes to back up each statement. There are lovely illustrations and important information is in bold writing, making it eye-catching and fun. But what really makes it an enjoyable and memorable read are the similes and lyrical language with which advice is offered. At one point Witkin states “one of the greatest inhibitors of creativity is clutter. How do you find diamonds if you’re mired in rubble?”, bringing to mind my messy room, where I’m so often unable to find books for my degree.
His style of writing is clear and easy to follow. With 65 topics covered, it offers help on everything, from money and relationships to skills and hobbies. There was much I have yet to find an opportunity to apply. But it’s reassuring to know if I do become a parent or have an operation this book will be waiting to help me through. With that said, I think this book is still enjoyable to read before the time has come when you may face such struggles. And you might even avoid some of the pitfalls Witkin describes by learning about them here first.
I support the statement that if you don’t agree with the information or find it helpful, you can simply laugh. I was particularly curious to read the author’s take on online dating. Upon reading, I found amusing advice, like the fact that it’s hard to tell if someone’s authentic when they have all the time in the world to craft an answer. And though many of the struggles I’ve experienced were missing, the author reminds the readers in his introduction “there are hundreds of books and innumerable websites on each of the topics that [he] only cover[s] briefly”.
One of the sections I was most looking forward to was coping with illness. Witkin talks about his struggle with cancer and his advice comes from a personal and sincere place. I am also going through a period of more serious illness and his guidance proved both pertinent and encouraging to me.
I liked his advice to stand in the mirror and say the mantra, “I will get through this.” Determination and positivity are so important to getting better, and it also suggests that my illness won’t win over me. It links back to the title and is a reminder that the hardship will be temporary. He even admits “every circumstance is different” and the recognition of this whilst simultaneously ensuring all his tips are broadly applicable is what makes his strategies so good.
Another one of his arguments concerns acceptance. I think this applies to all disappointment, not necessarily only that around illness. Once you accept something for what it is, once it has passed it will no longer be a ‘big thing’. Witkin picks topics that will be applicable to most people and offers true life lessons.
With the arrival of 2022, it’s an ideal time to tackle New Year resolutions with a positive mindset — here is the perfect book to help.
Image: Arnie Witkin